Before we work on artificial intelligence why don’t we do something about natural stupidity?
Techno-Fight. The ACT ’07 technical debate. The topic: “Is Artificial Intelligence a boon or bane” I have rarely not had the misfortune of not having to tolerate debate that was as completely unintelligent as this one was not.
The bloopers: My Life Sciences Prof., Mr. A. K. Trivedi, was a judge (wtf?). The compares announced the designation of the other judge as Dean of ASCO (Amity School of Communication) when she was, in fact, the Director. They then mispronounced the names and stances of almost ALL the participants
“The next participant is Harvinder Singh, who will be speaking FOR the topic.”
“Excusing, but myself being Harshvardhan Singh speaking AGAINST topic.”
And this very turbaned gentleman spoke like a complete dufus. Stutters and grammatical mistakes apart, he had NO concrete points. I raised an audience objection,
“You spoke about how chess computers are now capable of defeating human grandmasters as an example of A.I, but I’m sorry, those computers are still performing algorithms and are superior merely due to higher processing speeds and a greater amount of memory. You never mentioned how self-awareness is the true measure of Artificial Intelligence.”
“NO. I said *insert rubbish here*.”
Frankly speaking, I didn’t get a word of what he was saying. Perhaps the feeling was mutual.
Next speaker, same nonsense. A.I can perform operations and the like; they can do complex jobs that humans are incapable of doing. No mention of self-awareness or consciousness and whether the human brain can actually be decoded and explained by a series of complex algorithms. Same question. No logical answer. I almost gave up.
That was until a certain speaker started using Hollywood (and eventually, the hindi film industry) as her crux.
“How many of you have seen Spiderman: 2?” she shrieked, “Well, unless something is done we will have hundreds of Doctor Octopuses and no Spiderman!”
“Intelligence is not only the brain, but the heart as well!”
Right-o, I thought. Better raise an objection.
“Ma’am, you said that ‘Intelligence is not only brain…’ now, I’m not very good at Medical Science, but I thought that the job of the heart is to pump blood. Emotions are also a prerogative of the brain. If you believe that the brain is a machine, it implies that emotions are also something that can be replicated in machines. If not, what is it that separates logical thinking from emotions?” Not a really good point, I’ll agree, but better than the rest.
“There is a difference between logic and emotion.” She said, giving me hope that there’ll be a logical answer that’ll follow. “Suppose there’s a doctor who has to perform an operation on his daughter. (oh, no!) Will he be able to do it as he operates on strangers? (sounds familiar…) or will his hands shake?”
“Well, “ I replied, logically, I thought, ”If he is a competent Doctor, I assume he will.”
“Ha! But you just said you don’t know Medical Science!! How can YOU answer that?!”
The auditorium was filled with her branch (Electronics and Communication or Biotechnology) and they burst out into applause.
I was agape. I saw another speech, where a dude called Abhijeet raised a valid point, but nobody understood that as well. Pallavi was the only person who mentioned the Turing test, and everybody correlated A.I with a machine’s ability to solve complex problems. The question of self-awareness, consciousness or cognito ergo sum did not even arise.
My friend jerked his thumb over his shoulder and said “Screw”. I took the hint.
“Bane or Boon?”, more like n00bs to me.